Ellen (ennienyc) wrote,

I've been on a bit of an online shopping spree lately, starting with Memorial Day sales, but there's always some sort of sale. I can't get clothing since I need to try it on, but have bought several items for the apartment and computer. Thank you, Mommy! (she left enough for this sort of thing, but not enough to come anywhere near buying back the house I grew up in, which is now on the market. We got about 5% of that price when we sold in 1974, alas).

One of my purchases was a keyboard for the iPad. The price was so good I couldn't resist, even though I can also attach my old PC keyboard to the iPad with a converter. I still can't really solve puzzles on the iPad, since none of the apps recognize the old-style large keyboard Home/End and arrow navigation keys I use. I'm typing with the Logitech now (soooo much faster than typing onscreen).

I got 4 new bookcases recently (the ones in the photos with the thin bars on the sides), and had no problem filling them. I have enough books and magazines boxed and piled that could fill still more shelves, but I'm running out of wall space (there may still be a corner here or there that could fit the conveniently sized smaller shelf). I do often give away books after reading, and need to step up the pace: reading could be a full-time job! (unfortunately, one without pay)

Speaking of books, I need to review some I received from NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review:

Brutal Youth by Anthony Breznican - I was lucky enough not to experience any Mean Girl culture in Great Neck in the '60s (and any separate social groups then are now all one big, happy family on Facebook), but the Pittsburgh Catholic school in this book is a hotbed of Mean Girls and Boys. Set in 1991, before social media and cell phones, Brutal Youth depicts a culture of bullying, hazing, and just plain nastiness. No one can truly be trusted, and even the teachers and administration aren't always invested in making the crumbling school a safe place. I would dread going there every day. Not much actual learning was described, but more the day-to-day lives of the kids. Occasionally someone showed warmth and humanity, but the general mood was bleakness. The book has a plot, and the characters are strongly drawn and interesting to read about, but go elsewhere if you want blissful escapism.

Expecting by Ann Lewis Hamilton - There was a bit of a mixup with NetGalley. They originally rejected my request to read this book, and then wrote asking if I was interested in various publicity events. Um, you rejected me, I replied. They then made the galley available, and all is well. A much more serious mixup occurred in the book (spoiler - but it's near the beginning and all the reviews mention it. Stop reading NOW if you want to be surprised). Laurie and Alan are happily married and have suffered 2 miscarriages, so decide to try a fertility treatment using Alan's own sperm. Laurie is thrilled when the pregnancy takes, only to learn that there was a mixup at the clinic, and she is carrying the baby of Donor 296 - Jack, an Asian-Indian UCLA student. They track Jack down, and he becomes part of their lives. We hear the story from all three points of view. Possibly a far-fetched premise, but it makes for interesting reading.

You're Not Much Use to Anyone by David Shapiro - This novel is about David Shapiro,  a recent NYU grad whose parents want him to go to law school. Meanwhile, he has a mind-numbing city job and starts a Tumblr blog called Pitchfork Reviews Reviews, sneaking to write entries under the desk and in the bathroom. The author is David Shapiro (not his real name), a recent NYU grad who had a Tumblr blog about Pitchfork... you get the idea. In interviews, he says the story is not completely true, but certainly semi-autobiographical, and he eventually did become a lawyer. Fictional David leads a drifting, Downtown kind of life, with changing girlfriends, apartments, roommates. As an upper West Side, middle-aged nerd who didn't know what Pitchfork was until I looked it up, I don't quite relate, but the book was still fascinating.

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